Important Trends in Employee Benefit Provision
Employers constantly build upon their benefits packages to reflect the needs and circumstances of their ideal employees. Trends typically follow socio-economic developments outside the remit of employers, such as rising healthcare costs, health crises, technological development, and even nutrition. Here are some of the most pertinent trends developing right now in employee benefits.
The cost of specialist medicines in the United States is immensely high – and it is rising rapidly. Annual expenditure on prescription medicine is set to reach 5 trillion dollars by 2024. Citizens with chronic conditions like diabetes pay through the nose for insurance to cover the price of their medicine, which is sold to them at prices that far outstrip those in countries with socialized healthcare.
There is a worry among the population as a whole that healthcare employee benefits may not extend to cover the rising cost of medicines in the future. According to a survey by RxBenefits, 80 percent of employees see the future coverage of medication costs to be an essential benefit provision.
There is a growing trend towards the provision of childcare as part of employee benefits packages. This is immensely beneficial to both employees and employers, making it likely to grow into ubiquity. Employers lose thousands of hours of work due to employees being unable to find childcare and needing time off. Likewise, employees will stick with a company that can guarantee the provision of a childcare plan.
Mental health has always been an extremely pressing issue, but it is now receiving more recognition as a prevailing crisis within society as a whole due to increased coverage. Work is often a driving factor in worsening mental health. The precariousness, for instance, of a zero-hours contract can exacerbate preexisting mental health issues to do with stability. Long hours, poor pay, and workplace pressure can also be contributing factors. Few employees are comfortable talking to their bosses about mental health issues – despite the sugary messaging often churned out by HR departments around the country.
Workplaces need to offer their employees real and concrete assurances relating to mental health provisions. These can include paid time off for mental health problems, assurances that contracts will not be broken by workplaces unhappy with the time taken off, insurance that covers therapy, and other real promises of help. Training staff to look out for and safeguard people who are potentially suffering is also important. Benefits need to be actual – not wishy-washy.
Light, Air, Plants
Work shouldn’t make employees feel like they are imprisoned for eight hours a day in a sterilized cell. More and more top businesses are beginning to offer employees environmental stimulation and comfort as a major benefit. Amazon, for instance, recently unveiled its ‘spheres’ in major operations centers. These are offices like no other – domed structures filled with plants that resemble biospheres. Amazon has invested a huge sum of money in these green offices with the hope of enticing employees into having a more positive relationship with office working.